Dogs have a right to run free

Hastings Observer letters
Hastings Observer letters

From: Wayne Blades, Priory Avenue, Hastings

One of the ‘many’ reasons I moved to Hastings was that it seemed to be a town of dog lovers and a great place to be as a dog owner; so I’m devastated to hear of this proposed new policy, potentially meaning ALL dogs will need to be restrained in almost all of Hastings parks and recreational areas as it seems responsible dog owners – the majority of us – are being punished or the antisocial actions of a few.

I’m also alarmed that I had to hear this from another dog walker this morning, the day I believe a decision is to be made, rather than being advised that the policy was under consultation.

Surely even a poster or notice put up in the affected areas/parks would have been the very least the council could have done?

If the issue is about dog fouling and those owners that aren’t cleaning up, then it is these antisocial residents that should be sought out and reprimanded.

Much of the dog mess I see is actually on the footpaths and verges, made by dogs that have been on a lead. So it seems misguided to assume enforcing all dogs to be on a lead will solve anything. The issue is with these owners, not their pets.

If the council is actively going to outsource the services of wardens wearing body cameras then surely it should be these people that are sought out and targeted (and from experience, you can often hazard a pretty good guess as to who will and who won’t pick up).

In addition, such an initiative could be combined with these areas being policed in terms of littering too, which along with uncleared fouling seems to be a chronic and major problem in Hastings.

I walk my dog and am appalled by what I see in our un-patrolled parks (it is the disgrace of Linton Gardens).

There are so many recreational spaces in Hastings that don’t allow dogs, and owners appear to respect these, so please don’t take those spaces where our dogs can walk off-lead away from us.

Dogs, like children, are a choice and a right, but they should have the right to some spaces, in our towns and urban areas, where they 
live, to run free, socialise and play.

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